Blue Angels over the I-90 floating bridge

Closed bridges mean bus reroutes between 12:30 and 3:30 pm (Sounder Bruce)

Seafair Weekend logo

Seafair weekend (this Friday-Sunday, August 5-7) will once again feature free Metro-operated shuttles between Columbia City Station and the main gate for viewing the hydroplane races at Genesee Park. The shuttles will run 5:45 am to 8 pm all three days.

As an incentive to discourage parking on top of the playfields at Genesee Park, those riding their bikes will get a 50% discount off the price of admission to the main gate. Cascade Bicycle Club will have a secure bicycle pavilion there, and be giving out complimentary bottles of water to those parking at the pavilion.

Members of the armed forces, in uniform or carrying military ID, get to ride free on Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Pierce Transit now through Sunday, August 7.

The University of Washington will open up two parking lots to the general public, E12 and E19, just south of UW Station. Parking at these lots will be $15 on Friday, $10 on Saturday before noon, free after noon Saturday, and free Sunday. Compare that to $19 for all-day parking at the airport, with a coupon, and free parking in most of the stalls at Tukwila International Boulevard Station until it fills up.

If you are planning on taking an I-90 bus between 12:30 and 3:30 pm Friday-Sunday, be sure to check out Metro’s reroute plan.

18 Replies to “UW Parking, Biker Discounts, & Free Rides for Military on Seafair Weekend”

  1. Wait. Transit riders aren’t parking on the playfield either. Maybe hand out 1/2 off vouchers as you step off the train?

    Does anyone know if they ran the shuttle last year? If so, was the bus stuck in traffic? It seems like a very small road, and there wouldn’t be room for a temporary transit lane.

    1. I rode the shuttle last year. Yes, it was slow, circuitous, and stuck in traffic. Walking back to the station took a few minutes longer than the shuttle ride. Route 7 gets you even closer. But all of those options are faster than fighting traffic around Genesee Park and finding a parking spot. Plan to circle multiple times to find an open space, or bring a big wad of cash to pay to park on the grass.

    2. After waiting for 15 minutes for the shuttle to arrive at Columbia City Station last year, it loaded to full, then pulled out into traffic and immediately stopped, not 50 feet from where we boarded. After 5 minutes of no movement, a few of us asked the driver to let us off. He obliged, and about 15 people decided to walk instead. Walking we were able to cut across Rainier Playfield, and by the time we turned off of Genesee St to head to the lake, we still hadn’t seen the bus we left behind.

  2. Has there been any confirmation whether East Link will run during events like the Blue Angels?

    1. No. I suspect it hasn’t been seriously considered yet since East Link construction has barely started.

    2. I was always under the impression that the bridge was closed to avoid distracted drivers more so than safety concerns. I would think that train drivers tend to resist distraction, and even if the drive gets distracted on the bridge, they pose very minimal risk.

      By 2023 when it’s open, there’s going to be a lot of resistance to closing it.

      1. Train drivers are also drilled on abiding by the laws of both physics and war. Also of cause and effect, like a Navy pilot having to find someplace to “ditch” if an engine fails where he won’t kill a thousand people.

        The I-90 bridge itself? Been there, done that. After it rolled and went gurgling down to Captain Ivar Haglund’s Locker like when nobody at WSDOT got work-order to close all those hatches. Maybe because west end was in Seattle and only 99% of the committee agreed.

        Be a howl to program the recorded announcement system on East LINK trains with instructions about life jackets under the seats. Also choir going “Nearer My God to Thee!”

        So just to make sure everybody stays off the bridge, the armed forces have developed an incentive to concentrate.

        Really wish they’d let the public see some of these in action. Able to make it back to Boeing Field if they knock off a wing flying under the draw-span to get your attention. Wish Fairchild-Republic would bid on a bus.

        Mark Dublin

    3. Air show regulations require that spectators / members of the public be at least 1,500 feet away if the planes involved are jets or other high powered aircraft.

      Thus, I don’t think there is any way to keep the show where it is and have the bridge be open.

      1. Couldn’t they hold trains during the display, then run them between shows? There is always a lag of a few minutes between displays.

      2. Or maybe move the show further north, so it closes the 520 bridge rather than I-90. Or, best of all, just don’t do the show anymore and find better uses of our federal tax money (like building more transit!).


    Actually, a distracted train driver or Law non-abiding motorist would see something like this. Note the body damage the young woman pilot is looking up at. Sort of like my Route 7 one night. Only back in service a lot faster.

    Trolley package a little more complicated, but where there’s a will….

    Catenary will soon be there. Jet fuel costs the taxpayers.


  4. The air show regulations state that no one can be on the bridge while the planes are flying for the entire duration of their air show and that is for safety reasons. That includes cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians and would include light rail. But before anyone gets into a tizzy about this now the completion of the eastside light rail is years away and who knows about Seafair and their activities and shows at that time. So nothing to get excited about it now.

  5. And Link broke down Friday evening. I was at UW Station, and the “Next train this platform” sign started saying “Link service is interrupted due to a mechanical issue, information shortly.” I waited fifteen or twenty minutes before I bailed and decided it was a good time to go to Trader Joe’s on the 48. The crowd at the platform kept growing; it looked like they could all fit on a 3-car train but I wasn’t sure. As I watched from the 48 bus stop, more people were pouring into the station. Just as the bus was about to leave, a crowd of some ten train refugees ran across the street to catch it. The bus happened to be articulated; I’m not sure if anyone was standing behind me. Later buses might be fuller.

    Even as the sign in the station repeated every couple minutes, many people didn’t see it, and a few said “it’s coming in 2 minutes” or 1 minute. So I said loudly, not 2 minutes, the system is broken, there are no trains running, and it will be an aribitrary amount of time until a train comes. After that I still heard a couple people say “1 minute” so I repeated it twice. A few people asked questions and I said the sign said “mechanical issue” and “information shortly”. Finally the sign came again and I pointed to it saying, “Look”. I was not in a hurry and I’m a transit fan so I wanted to see the train load here and at Westlake, so I wasn’t bothered too much, Others were outraged, and wondered about people catching flights. One family turned around and said they’d drive to the stadium, I told them, “Think about parking and traffic.” They agreed it would probably be awful. I just hoped they’d find a parking space when they get there.

    Another guy said he’d go up to take a bus. I said, “There’s no buses to downtown from here.” He said, aren’t there several buses on the street above. I said yes but none of them go downtown. I asked where he wanted to go and he said Belltown. I said you can take the 48 down 23rd and transfer to an east-west bus like the 8 but it’ll take an hour to get to Belltown. I’m not sure he believed it, so I wonder if he went upstairs and got disappointed or lost. I’m sure there were dozens of people there who didn’t know where the buses went or how to get downtown or the stadiums or airport or somewhere else without Link. I didn’t give specific information about transfers; I just said “an east-west bus”, because sometimes what pops into my head is incorrect or out of date. I know myself visually; you go down to John or Madison or Union and take the bus there, and they go to Uptown and downtown and Madrona, but I can’t always remember it precisely enough to say it. But that’s better than saying an out-of-date route number like I sometimes do. After I was on the 48 a while I realized that the best way to the stadiums is to go down to Jackson Street and transfer to the 36 or 14, but I didn’t even think about that when I was on the platform; I could only think of the 8 and 11 being half-hourly in the evening, and the 2 maybe being 15 minutues but I wasn’t sure, and nothing south of there. Except I wondered if people would take the 48 to Mt Baker Station and try to transfer to Link to the airport or back north to downtown (if those were running yet).

    1. I see that ST tweeted the mechanical shutdown at 6:30 and restoration of service at 6:43. I presume the delay was significantly longer than that.

      To be fair, bus rapid transit trying to get through the downtown tunnel would also have ground to a halt. Nor would any sane person argue that buses would be better than trains in the U-Link tubes.

      If bus breakdowns are causing frequent shutdowns in the tunnel, maybe its time to get more bold about the plan to have routes 101, 102, and 150 serve Rainier Beach Station, and have routes 74 and 255 serve UW Station. I believe ST could move to an all-3-car-train/all-the-time plan if it could move straight to rail-only operations in the tunnel, lowering the round-trip loop time for peak trains significantly.

    2. The announcements in the tunnels are completely worthless when there is an interruption. “Information shortly” means you’re more likely to see a train show up before a new message is displayed, and probably the system has been down a good 15 minutes before that initial “service interrupted” message even shows up. I don’t understand why they are able to tweet a message but can’t send a message to the platforms. Is the technology that archaic? Maybe they should just install displays on the platforms that broadcast a twitter feed or RSS. They could set up a new “ST system status” handle and broadcast only that all day. probably be a lot less expensive to implement than the inoperable SCADA system, too.

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